April 3 – Prayer

God calls us to take part in His transforming work and promises that we will be transformed in the process. As a praying church, we believe the Gospel changes our lives. Spend some time today in prayer and use the following as a guide.

Praise God for who He is: Prayers of praise are focused entirely on God. It is our expression of adoration for all that God is – His holiness, greatness, love, and majesty (Isaiah 12:2). Take a few minutes to focus on God and praise Him for who He is. Write down a characteristic of God that you love and put it somewhere you can see it daily.

Thanksgiving for what He has done: Prayers of thanksgiving acknowledge what God has done and is doing in our lives, homes, job, community, bodies, and the church (James 1:17-20). Spend some time thanking God for what He has done in your life.

Confession of our sins: An awareness of God’s presence reveals our own unworthiness. In confession we acknowledge our sin and ask God for forgiveness (Romans 10:9). Take a few minutes to confess your sin to God and ask for forgiveness.

Ask (Life, Community, Campus, Church): Prayers of petition include asking God specific things for our lives, our community, our campuses, and the local and global church (Matthew 6:33). Take a few minutes to ask God to show His glory in these places.

April 2 – 1 Peter 2:24

“He himself bore our sins” in His body on the cross,
so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by His wounds you have been healed.”

1 Peter 2:24

Jon, a pastor friend in Kentucky, tells a story about when he was a kid and, with some buddies, accidentally burned down a neighbor’s shed with some fireworks. His dad informed him that Jon owed 40 dollars to help pay for the repairs of the shed. Jon knew he would have to mow a bunch of yards to make that money. Well soon after, for an entire week, at his father’s command, Jon’s dad went and mowed yard after yard himself, while Jon was to sit and watch. It was agonizing for Jon knowing his dad didn’t have to bear his mistake. And after each lawn he mowed, Jon’s dad actually gave Jon the money, until all 40 bucks were earned. After he gave Jon the money, Jon was overcome by what his dad had done for him and asked him why. His dad’s reply was that he wanted Jon to truly understand the Father’s grace. Its real, its pure, and its strong. Like Jon deserved to mow lawns, we deserve punishment for our sin. Instead, we see Jesus on a cross, and we are forgiven and healed by His wounds and sacrifice. Let’s never forget, and always remember to live in that promise of grace.

April 1 – John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

If there was ever a rally cry for Christians, this verse would be it! We see this verse on all kinds of banners at football games, on tee shirts, posters, and inscribed beautifully on communion tables and church walls. As the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team leaves the locker room for the field, they walk underneath a sign and slap it with their hands. The sign reads: “Play like a Champion today!” It inspires them to greatness. Reminding them that they have it in them to be a champion!

Throughout history, the cross has been a symbol for Christians to never give up, keep serving, loving, preaching, and dying courageously for our faith. It reminds us to live like a champion.

What’s our inspiration? The promise in John 3:16. God loves us! Romans 5:8 says that, “God demonstrated ahis love for us. While we were sinners, Christ died for us”. God loves us unconditionally. We don’t have to clean up our act, get our life together before coming to Him. He loves us just the way we are. His love was demonstrated so beautifully in the giving of His one and only Son, Jesus! Can you imagine giving up one of your children for somebody else? Someone you don’t even know? Somebody who hates you? That is the ultimate picture of love.

What a great hope we find in this verse. If we just believe, then God has such a great promise for us. We will not die. Oh sure, the batteries in our bodies will wear out and run down, that is true. But our spirits will always be alive. We will go to live with Him in heaven that He has created just for us. If the church ever had a theme song, a rallying cry, or a sign that we all carried with our faith, as we walked out the door and into the world, it would be this one: John 3:16. The next time you’re watching the Bears vs Packers game, and somebody kicks a field goal, and you see that crazy guy holding that John 3:16 sign, know you will know it means a lot more than just three points. Go Bears! Beat the Pack!

March 31 – Isaiah 26:3

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.”

Isaiah 26:3

There is so much happening in this world today how can you NOT be stressed. Yes, indeed, God gives the one who trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, PEACE WITH GOD. And He will keep the believer in Christ Jesus covered in His own perfect peace, by giving us the PEACE OF GOD which transcends human understanding. But where is the peace? How do we get it? Well, simply put we pray. We pray and give God the control. I guarantee that when the thoughts of our hearts are fixed on the Lord Jesus moment by moment of each day – as we take every thought captive to Him, we will begin to feel that peace. The PERFECT PEACE that God has promised. However, to stay in perfect peace, all who trust in Him, must fasten their eyes and their hearts upon Him. What in this world is trying to steal your peace? Now take that thing, situation, or person and lay it at God’s feet in prayer. Ask God to give you laser focus on Him today.

March 30 – Romans 10:9-10

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouththat you profess your faith and are saved.”

Romans 10: 9-10

Perhaps the greatest promise in all of Scripture to the believer is found in this passage. We should not ignore how scandalously simple the invitation to eternal life is. Of course, this invitation to salvation is one of the biggest things the church has struggled with since it was written. We try to justify, create, or work our way into eternity. But salvation is birthed in confessing and believing – not in works or deeds. The physical act of saying out loud that ‘Jesus is Lord’ and the heart act of believing that God raised Christ from the dead is an affront to our mortal justification to receive salvation.

The promise of salvation is beautiful and humbling. The invitation is for all the people. It is an invitation that can take place in a prison cell or in a cathedral, in a bedroom or in a prayer group, on the street or in a revival tent meeting. For me it was in a cabin with my parents when I was five, and a rededication of my heart at a Bible camp when I was 13. The reality is that no matter where you are or who you are, the gift of salvation is readily available to those who confess and believe. Simple. To the point. Glorious. This promise is real and it is available right now.

March 29 – Lamentations 3:22-23

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3: 22-33

Because of God’s great love, because of God’s mercies, we are not consumed. This could be said this way “Because of God’s great love we have hope.” The type of “great love” that Jeremiah writes about here goes beyond a feeling. This is a covenant, a loyal love that leads to compassion. Jesus faithfulness towards us reached its heights at the Cross when He gave up His life for the forgiveness of our sins. And when we miss the mark time after time, day after day, there is new mercy for us each morning, each moment.

Do you live like that is true? Or does the world bring you anxiety and fear? Does your own failure tempt you to throw in the towel? My friends, we have this great hope! On earth, that God has a will and a plan for us, and in Heaven; an eternity with Him! This hope gives us peace. This hope gives us boldness. Live in hope. What area of your life do you need to surrender to the hope and faithfulness Jesus offers?

March 28 – John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

With everything we faced in 2020, one of the many heroes were nurses. They were and are on the front lines caring for people who are in a deeply vulnerable place. They care for people who are in pain. They care for people who are going through trauma. They care for people who are hurting and lashing out. They walk into chaos daily. The best nurses have an ability to bring peace to their patients who are experiencing real trouble. They bring a calm, a sense that everything is going to be okay, and administer healing.

This is a picture many of us have experienced personally or seen with someone close to us. It is an example of someone who brings peace in trouble. John 16:33 Jesus makes us a promise that we can hold tight to “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The Biblical word for peace is not just a state of being, but actually it is a verb. It means to make whole and have harmony. Take a broad look at the use of peace throughout scripture we see that we are to make whole our relationship with each other, ourselves, and with God. But how is this possible? If you are anything like me, you know that all three seem insurmountable. I believe they feel that way because they are…

BUT thankfully we have another way to have peace and it doesn’t depend on ourselves. It depends on Jesus. In Jesus we have the ability to bring wholeness to our relationships with each other. In Jesus we can rest
in Him and have experienced His wholeness on our own life. In Jesus, we are forgiven and can experience wholeness with our relationship with the Lord. Today is Palm Sunday. The day Jesus rode into Jerusalem declaring this peace has come.

Like a nurse walking into chaos, we can navigate a chaotic world. Not because we are anything special. Quite the contrary, we are a people who realize our need for Jesus, and we receive His promised peace. Accept this promise today.

March 27 – Prayer

God calls us to take part in His transforming work and promises that we will be transformed in the process. As a praying church, we believe the Gospel changes our lives. Spend some time today in prayer and use the following as a guide.

Praise God for who He is: Prayers of praise are focused entirely on God. It is our expression of adoration for all that God is – His holiness, greatness, love, and majesty (Isaiah 25:1). Take a few minutes to focus on God and praise Him for who He is.

Thanksgiving for what He has done: Prayers of thanksgiving acknowledge what God has done and is doing in our lives, homes, job, community, bodies, and the church (1 Timothy 4:4-5). Spend some time thanking God for what He has done in your life.

Confession of our sins: An awareness of God’s presence reveals our own unworthiness. In confession we acknowledge our sin and ask God for forgiveness (Romans 6:23). Take a few minutes to confess your sin to God.

Ask (Life, Community, Campus, Church): Prayers of petition include asking God specific things for our lives, our community, our campuses, and the local and global church (John 3:16). Take a few minutes to intercede on behalf of those around us.

March 26 – Isaiah 40:31

“…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

This verse is probably one of the most famous verses in the Bible to be put on a poster, a picture, or on a T-shirt. It was also made famous from the movie, Chariots of Fire. It’s inspiring! It speaks of renewed strength, soaring like an eagle, running forever and never wearing out. I’ll take two of those please!

A few years ago, I decided to run a half marathon. I’m not a runner by any means, but I had it in my heart that I was going to do it. I didn’t train enough. I wasn’t completely ready, but I did as much as I could to prepare myself for this race of a lifetime. I bought a membership to a fitness club, bought new running shoes, and purchased new clothes. I’ve never been in a race before, so when the race was getting started, I thought I should go to the starting line. I noticed a lot of people were lined up all down the street, but I figured “How dumb! This is a race! I want to start in the front!”

What I didn’t realize is that people lined up according to their abilities. The people in the front of the line were the elite runners, you know the guys who do this for a living? As the race started, I slowly jogged my way through the first 50 meters. After all, it’s a marathon! I quickly found myself being bumped into and pushed out of the way by a lot of frustrated, professional runners. Now, I was in trouble and realized what I had done. So, I started running faster and faster. At the end of my first mile, with many miles to go, I was exhausted. I had over 12 miles to go. How would I ever finish the race?

Somehow, I found inspiration. I was wearing a pink shirt in honor of my mom who was going through cancer treatments at the time. I was going to finish this race for her! I thought about my faith and all the great promises in the Bible that say God will be our strength. I was going to finish this race for Him. I thought about that scripture in Isaiah 40:31. My hope would not be in my pre-race training, my new shoes, or my cool Adidas shorts. I would hope in the Lord. He would renew my strength. I would soar like an eagle, run this race and not grow weary, walk through this defining moment and not quit.

Did I win the race? No, not even close. However, through a lot of inspiration from friends along the way, faith, and that really weird jelly energy stuff called “GU”, I finished the race. Let this verse inspire you to run the race of your life, soar like an eagle, and fly like one of those Nike sponsored elite runners! By the way, I finished the race without throwing up. I know that’s too much information, but it was a big deal to me. Keep running!

March 25 – Deuteronomy 31:8

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

In Isaiah 41:10, God gives to us five great promises to help us in our journey. God’s promises that are seen in Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for…, 1) I am with you; do not be dismayed; 2) for I am your God; 3) I will strengthen you; 4) I will help you; 5) I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God’s promises are only effective in our lives when we believe them and act upon them. The road ahead is unknown, but if we know God and His promises, we will successfully navigate the road ahead of us. Take a moment and write down each of the promises listed above. Reflect upon them. Then pray and petition God to show you how these promises are uniquely for YOU!